The longer he stayed in the game, the more battered and bruised Juneau East starting pitcher Dylan Baker became.
But Saturday's game at Miller Fields was for the District II Minor (age 9-10) Little League Baseball championship, so Baker figured he could take a couple of blows for the team.
Despite pulling his groin while covering first base and three collisions with base runners that left him with a knot on his head and two sore legs, Baker pitched a complete game as Juneau East claimed an 11-6 victory over Juneau West in a championship featuring two teams from the Gastineau Channel Little League.
"It doesn't hurt that much," Baker said after he and his teammates collected their championship medals. "My arm doesn't hurt at all."
Baker's gutsy performance was one of several for Juneau East, which avenged an 8-3 loss to Juneau West in the round-robin part of the tournament.
Tony Tompkins hit two doubles and a triple, scoring twice with two RBIs for Juneau East, while Julian Love scored three runs and Baker had two RBIs. Scoring once each were Baker, Torey Franzen, Reese Saviers, Brendan Daugherty and Gabe Carte.
"I knew we were going to win by the way we were warming up," Tompkins said.
"We'd lost to Juneau West the first time, so we wanted revenge," Daugherty said.
Juneau West, Juneau East and Ketchikan finished in a three-way tie for first place after Friday's games gave all three teams 3-1 records in the round-robin part of the tourney. Juneau West won the top seed because of a runs-allowed tie-breaker. With Juneau West out of the tie, Juneau East took the second spot in the title game due to its 8-1 head-to-head victory over Ketchikan.
"At the beginning we were pretty confident," Saviers said. "We'd made it this far."
"We were happy, kind of," Love said of the rematch. "It just kind of dropped together."
In Saturday's third-fourth place game, Wrangell beat Ketchikan 4-1 as the Ketchikan coaches gave some of their bench players a chance to play more than they'd been able to earlier in the tournament.
Ketchikan was idle Friday, and could only watch as Juneau West beat Wrangell 17-1 and Juneau East beat Petersburg 15-2 to clinch spots in Saturday's title game. Ketchikan needed Wrangell to score at least four runs or Petersburg to score three in their games to advance.
In Saturday's title game, Juneau East took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Franzen singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on an error. Juneau East made it 3-0 in the second inning as Daugherty singled, Baker hit a two-out single, then Franzen reached on an error that scored both Daugherty and Baker.
"The errors hurt us. They put us out of the game," said Nick Mow, who scored three runs to lead Juneau West. "When we lose, we lose as a team. And when we win, we win as a team."
Juneau East made it 5-0 in the top of the third inning as Love walked, Tompkins doubled, Daugherty drew a one-out walk to load the bases and Baker hit a two-out single to score Love and Tompkins.
Until then, Juneau West's only solid hit came in the second inning when birthday boy Logan Miller stroked a double to the wall. Miller, who turned 10 Saturday, was stranded on the basepaths.
Juneau West scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the third when Mow singled, took second on a grounder, went to third on a passed ball and scored on an error. On Mow's single, a slow dribbler down the first base line, Baker came off the mound to field the ball but slipped and fell headfirst into the base line where Mow accidently kicked him in the head. On the next play, Baker pulled his leg running to cover first on a grounder.
Juneau East threatened to end the game early on the 10-run rule when it scored five runs in the fourth inning. Saviers walked and scored when Esquerra reached third on a three-base error. Love reached on an error to score Esquerra, then scored when Tompkins hit his second double. Tompkins scored on a pair of passed balls, then Carte walked, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by James San Miguel.
In top of the fifth inning, Juneau East added one more run for an 11-1 lead as Love reached on a fielder's choice and Tompkins followed with a triple. It appeared Juneau East scored another run when Michael Bogert hit a deep fly to center, but after missing tagging Tompkins on a play at the plate Juneau West was able to throw to third on an appeal play and Tompkins was called out for leaving before the fly out was recorded.
That's when Juneau West started to rally, scoring five runs in the last two innings to avoid the game ending early by the 10-run mercy rule.
"We were getting kind of worried," Daugherty said. "They got that big rally."
Juneau West scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as Mow doubled and took third on an error, then scored on a passed ball. Vincent Isturis walked, took second on a passed ball, took third on an error and scored when Aaron Cohen reached second on a pair of errors. Cohen scored after two passed balls, with the second one resulting in a collision with Baker at the plate that left Baker limping.
In the top of the sixth inning, Daugherty reached second base with one out for Juneau East, but Baker hit into a 5-3-5 double play to end the threat. In the bottom half of the inning, Baker got the first two Juneau West hitters out. But Mow reached on an error, took second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch, then Isturis walked and stole second. Mow scored on an error, and Isturis scored on a wild pitch that left Baker limping again as he and Isturis collided. The game ended when Cohen lined out to Love at short.
"We had a lot of nerves," said Hotch, who started the 5-3-5 double play. "But we lost the nerves after that double play."
"We played well during the tournament," Miller said.
Wrangell 4, Ketchikan 1
Eric Crayne scored two runs and Peter Wilson pitched five scoreless innings as Wrangell topped Ketchikan in Saturday's third-fourth place game.
Crayne singled, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on a passed ball for Wrangell's first run in the first inning.
In the fifth inning, Wrangell scored three more times as Sean McCoy walked, Crayne singled and Josh Hojem walked to load the bases. Wilson then reached on an error as two runs scored and Joel Cramer singled in Hojem before Wilson was nailed at the plate.
Ketchikan's only run came in the sixth inning as Simon Brooks singled and came around to score on a passed ball. Ketchikan had two runners thrown out at home and another caught stealing at second base.
Since his team wasn't playing for the championship - even though it was involved in the three-way tie for the tournament's top seed with Juneau East and Juneau West - Ketchikan coach Michael Brooks said he played a lot of his kids who hadn't seen a lot of action earlier in the tournament.
Juneau East 15, Petersburg 2
Julian Love scored four runs and was the winning pitcher as Juneau East beat Petersburg on Friday.
Dylan Baker added three runs and Derrick Esquerra scored twice for Juneau East, which also picked up single runs each from Torey Franzen, Brendan Daugherty, Reese Saviers, Tony Tompkins, Keath Flint and James San Miguel. Esquerra had a double for the only extra-base hit of the game.
Petersburg scored its two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning as Chris Haerling reached on an error and Thor Stenfjord walked, then both advanced on a double steal and came around to score on a pair of passed balls.
Juneau West 17, Wrangell 1
Vincent Isturis drove in four runs with a homer and a triple to lead Juneau West over Wrangell on Friday.
Jake Monagle and Nick Mow scored three times each for Juneau West, which also picked up two runs apiece from Isturis, Aaron Cohen, Ben Hotch and Logan Miller. Peter Jorgensen, Devan Neal and Nathan Fosket scored single runs for Juneau West, which scored 11 runs in the second inning.
Wrangell's only run came in the top of the first inning when Joel Cramer reached on a two-out error and came around to score on a series of stolen bases and passed balls.
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JUNEAU EAST 11, JUNEAU WEST 6
Saturday's championship game from Miller Fields
JUNEAU EAST 122 520 - 11 9 6
JUNEAU WEST 001 032 - 6 6 4
Juneau East - Baker and Franzen. Juneau West - Isturis and Cohen. WP - Baker. LP - Isturis. Sv - None. 2B - Juneau East 2 (Tompkins 2), Juneau West 2 (Miller 1, Mow 1). 3B - Juneau East 1 (Tompkins 1), Juneau West 0. HR - None.
WRANGELL 4, KETCHIKAN 1
Saturday's third-fourth place game from Miller Fields
KETCHIKAN 000 001 - 1 3 4
WRANGELL 100 03x - 4 4 2
Ketchikan - Brooks, Ruaro (2), Lervick (4), Singstad (5) and Singstad, Allen (2). Wrangell - Wilson, Crayne (6) and Hojem. WP - Wilson. LP - Brooks. Sv - None. 2B - None. 3B - None. HR - None.
JUNEAU EAST 15, PETERSBURG 2
Friday's round-robin game from Miller Fields
JUNEAU EAST 034 44 - 15 7 1
PETERSBURG 000 20 - 2 2 5
(game called after five innings, 10-run mercy rule)
Juneau East - Love, Esquerra (5) and Baker. Petersburg - Madsen, S. Volk (4), Stenfjord and Payne, Sturgeon (4). WP - Love. LP - Madsen. Sv - None. 2B - Juneau East 1 (Esquerra 1), Petersburg 0. 3B - None. HR - None.
JUNEAU WEST 17, WRANGELL 1
Friday's round-robin game from Miller Fields
WRANGELL 100 0 - 1 1 12
JUNEAU WEST 3(11)3 x - 17 8 1
(game called after four innings, 10-run mercy rule)
Wrangell - Howell, Hojem (2) and Wilson. Juneau West - Cohen and Isturis. WP - Cohen. LP - Howell. Sv - None. 2B - None. 3B - Wrangell 0, Juneau West 1 (Isturis 1). HR - Wrangell 0, Juneau West 1 (Isturis 1).
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